SME support to build a diverse economy and boost growth
It’s hard to imagine how a modern organisation was able to function without computers just a few decades ago. Much of our office life would come to an abrupt halt if we did not have access to these vital systems now.
In Azerbaijan, DiVi specialises in IT solutions for the workplace. The company supplies computer and office equipment – everything from PCs, tablets and printers to televisions and audio-visual equipment – to businesses and has done so since the mid-1990s. DiVi customers are supported by an authorised service centre which, for example, exclusively supports Canon and Nikon products in the country.
“It’s a competitive field and important to us to keep up with the latest trends, since our clients will surely ask us about them within a matter of weeks,” said Emin Guliyev, DiVi’s CEO. “This means that we need to continuously improve and update our services because if we don’t, our competitors will.”
The EBRD was at hand to support DiVi in its ambition to stay ahead of the competition.
A key step for DiVi to achieve this was to extend its services through an online shop – this not only allowed the company to expand its customer base but also to better serve its existing one.
DiVi’s website now offers clients the option to order online, but also has information about the company, its partners, and news and information, such as job vacancies.
“Buying products and services online is what many customers expect these days,” explained Lale Rzayeva, Principal Manager at the EBRD’s Baku office. “It can help to increase sales, of course, but a strong online presence also provides businesses with an opportunity to present its products and to build a stronger, more credible brand.”
“We have a lot of experience in helping businesses improve their marketing – in fact, almost a third of our projects include such a component,” she added.
The online shop is proving popular among DiVi’s clients: since it started to offer its services online, its business has increased by 20 per cent.
Learning from other cultures
There were more opportunities, however, to set DiVi on the right track for further growth.
“It can truly be an eye-opener to step out of your own company’s environment and learn from other entrepreneurs elsewhere as to how they have tackled their growth challenges,” said Mr Guliyev.
A matching trip to Taipei, including visits and discussions with another IT company, provided him with such opportunity in a technologically advanced economy.
“We learned about new trends in the IT industry such as IoT and gaming during our trip to Asia,” he explains.
The company was one out of 18 who benefited from this opportunity, which was financed by the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.
Finally, the EBRD supported DiVi with its financial accounting systems: the company was audited to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by an independent consultant, which helped to better analyse its performance.
This is rather the beginning than the end of the journey for DiVi: the company has further ambitions and applied for a loan with the EBRD to help further grow its business.
“Our plan for the future is to expand across the region and increase our market share,” said Mr Guliyev.